[EM] Why I think IRV isn't a serious alternative 2

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Sun Dec 28 15:06:06 PST 2008

At 10:36 AM 12/28/2008, James Gilmour wrote:
>Kristofer Munsterhjelm  > Sent: Sunday, December 28, 2008 9:45 AM
> > The UK is also parliamentary, so I suppose there would be few places
> > where you could actually have a runoff.
>Given that all members of the UK Parliament are elected from 
>single-member districts (UK "constituencies") and that all districts
>were contested by at least three candidates (max 15 in 2005), it 
>would be theoretically possible to have run-off elections in all
>645 districts.  In the 2005 general election, 425 of the districts 
>were "won" with a plurality of the votes not a majority, so that
>could have been 425 run-offs.  Quite a thought!

Sure. Consider the implications. Most of those who voted, in those 
districts, did not support the winner. Odd, don't you think, that you 
imagine an outcry over a "weak Condorcet winner," when what is 
described is, quite possibly, an ongoing outrage.

Is it actually an outrage? It's hard to tell. It's quite possible 
that the majority was willing to accept the winner; that is normally 
the case, in fact. Bucklin would have found some majorities there. 
IRV probably -- in spite of the theories of some -- probably a bit 
fewer. In nonpartisan elections, IRV almost never finds a majority 
when one is not found in the first round, but those were, I presume, 
partisan elections, where finding a majority is more common.)

However, consider this: the Plurality voting system (FPTP) encourages 
compromise already. There would have been more sincere first 
preference votes. My guess, though, is that the use of, say, Bucklin, 
would have resulted in *at least* half of those pluralities becoming 
a majority, possibly more. However, this is the real effect of the 
system described:

In maybe one election out of 10, were it top two runoff, the result 
would shift, which, I contend, is clearly a more democratic result. 
There might be a slightly increased improvement if the primary method 
weren't top two Plurality, majority win, but a method which would 
find a Condorcet winner or at least include that winner in a runoff. 
How much is it worth to improve the result -- it could be a very 
significant improvement -- in 10% of elections?

I'd say it's worth a lot!

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